Day 13. Friday, August 11. Rest day – Osh
Osh is a fascinating place for a rest day. A key trading post since the 8th century BC, it is Kyrgyzstan’s oldest settlement and now its second largest city with a vast bazaar where you can buy, reputedly, almost anything; and Sulayman Mountain, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulayman_Mountain a World Heritage Site, has been a place of petroglyphs and worship for millennia.
But for me, today is all about my mundane needs – bike, blog and body, in that order. On the first, we as a group quickly figured out that the one thing local cycle shops, or perhaps even the bazaar, doesn’t have is inner tubes in our sizes. So, some of us had to spend some of the morning patching the ones we had. Below are photos of two of those formidable thorns, one from my front wheel and one from my back.
As for the blog, I’ve brought it bang up to date today. Apologies it’s proved too hard to do it in camps in the late afternoon or early evening. Tiredness at the end of the ride, pitching my tent, eating, and preparing for the next day, a bit of social life and getting to sleep by 8.30pm or so consume all my off-bike time and energy.
I will go out in late afternoon, when the temperature eases a bit, to replenish a few vital items and have an early dinner with some of my fellow riders. But tourist I won’t be. I’m hyper conscious of keeping out of the heat when I can, and of playing the long game to Istanbul.
So far, we have had 13 days on our journey, 10 of them riding days covering some 1,250km. Personally, I’m under 1,000km because some days in part I’m riding in the van to conserve my energy or to escape the worst of the heat. All up, the trip is 62-days, of which 45 are riding days clocking up 5,125km.
I found the first week very hard, what with extreme heat and persistent diarrhoea. This second week, tho, my digestive system has come right, and I’ve gained a bit more tolerance of the heat. I still need to pace myself carefully, tho. My ‘get-me-to-Istanbul-maximum-heart rate’ is only 130 and I stick resolutely to that, however steep the hill.
Above all, tho, the great joys are the adventure of the journey itself, the sights and encounters along the way, and my delightful fellow riders and crew.